The Writer Who Doesn’t Write
Today on Tablet
Tuck your napkin into your shirt, grab your knife and fork, and dig in to contributing editor Rachel Shukert’s takedown of Fran Lebowitz, who is the subject of a Martin Scorcese-directed documentary that airs on HBO tonight. Today in Tablet Magazine, Shukert identifies Lebowitz as “official mascot for Vanity Fair” (which is indisputable) and as a member of “New York’s great triumvirate of Overrated Jewish Lesbians,” which consists of “Le(i)bow(v)itzes Fran and Annie” and Susan Sontag (on her and her alone Shukert and I will have to disagree). And Shukert writes:
There is one area in which Fran Lebowitz has by all measures succeeded brilliantly, one that Scorsese’s film, which consists almost entirely of uninterrupted images of her, gives us plenty of time to ponder. Fran Lebowitz has perfected her look. Her boulevardier wardrobe, her trademark cigarette/sneer, her unruly Beethoven bob: She has precisely distilled, or perhaps invented, our idea of what a “sardonic New York literary curmudgeon” should look like and has stuck to it faithfully for decades. This tastefully nihilistic pose has been her fortune and, perhaps perversely, also her undoing as an artist. “I’m not interested in other people, so I don’t expect them to be interested in me,” she claims. Fair enough (if somewhat specious), except that the single requirement of the art of writing—to say nothing of the art of conversation—is exactly that.
There is much more where that came from. Bon appetit.